play hardball

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From the American sport of baseball; the hardball is the heavier and harder type of the two types of throwing ball used when playing that sport.

Verb[edit]

play hardball

  1. (idiomatic) To use every means possible to achieve a goal, especially in disregarding the harm caused.
    He was more than willing to extend the terms of the loan, but his boss decided to play hardball and demanded a balloon payment.
  2. (idiomatic) To act rough and ruthless, especially in politics or business.
    So you wanna play hardball?